Getting Use to Seniorship

For as much as I love having a lot of calm days since the last posting, it’s been a bit of a reversal of fortune for others in my family.

Our days have been filled with checking in on Instagram every morning, looking for any posted videos by our granddaughter and boyfriend while travelling in New Zealand and Australia since December, 2019. We’ve enjoyed their fabulous photos of the country and all of its beauty and attractions. The videos have also been cute, interesting, exciting and enlightening. The pair have been bungie jumping, surfing, scuba diving, sky diving, held Koala Bears, hiked at great lengths, and have been certified for diving. There’s so much more they’ve experienced that my memory fails them all. We’re so proud of Felicia and Kyle and what they’ve accomplished and can’t wait for them to come home and recant all of their adventures.

While we’ve been enjoying our quiet days, it suddenly became time for Hubby to paint the living room, hallway and bathroom, as he had promised in late Fall. He’s pretty much been responsible for picking out the new colours – with a little agreement from me, and he’s been working diligently for the past several weeks to get it done. Taking his time, he would do the edging around the living room one day with primer, apply a second coat the 2nd day, then apply the main colour coat the 3rd or 4th day, depending how things went. While working away at his project, I tried to help by clearing away any wall decorations, pictures, etc. and store in a safe place to keep for later. I would then spend my personal days either working in the office, baking or just goofing off (with a little “Ruby Guilt”).

Once the living room was finished, I spent several days trying to re-arrange some of the decor just to freshen things up. Some items have been replaced and some just re-arranged, and we’re both pleased with the final result. We now have a bit of a new fresh outlook and bit of a boost while enjoying the room.

The hallway was a bit of a different matter. It became difficult for Hubby to paint down the stairs and he had to come up with some creative ways of placing his ladder along the stairway wall in order to complete the painting job. At one of his final stages, he happened to stand the ladder on some of the drop cloth, and as the ladder slipped, down he went on his backside at the top of the stairs. While sitting in the office I heard the kaboom and thud, went running out and looked upon his painful face, with hand placed behind his back, as I tried to help him sit up at the top of the landing. I was so grateful he didn’t do a one-eighty down the stairs and crash land on the cement floor.

As he sat at the top of the landing to get his breath and start to feel the back pain come on, we hobbled him to his recliner and there he sat until he was at ease. It went without saying, that his job was done for the day and he would go to bed that night waiting for the aches and pains when he arose the next morning. Luckily he wasn’t too bad and despite my apprehension, he continued on with the task at hand. “I’ve got to get it done” was his constant lament. He’s as stubborn as I am, and I, at least, understand.

Once the hallway was done, again, a huge difference could be seen. The dull, dim hallway was now light and bright and seemed even bigger than it was. Now it was my turn to redo or replace any decor we had hanging on the walls. As we took down a grouping of grandchildren photos a large piece of wall was now available for a dramatic or imposing piece of artwork or graphic piece. “Hmmmm”, let me think. We rehung the small mirror given to us as a wedding present from an aunt, that was made by a man who just happened to have the same last name as my maiden name. It’s near and dear to my heart. The ideas then began to flow for the stairway wall and we both came up with one or two good ones, but would cost more than we wanted to spend. In the end, I came up with a plan to cover a piece of artist canvas with burlap and then create a green floral arrangement on it. I managed to get it crafted with some suggestions from Hubby. The hanging of the canvas was a bit tricky, but hubby was able to position the ladder in a supportive way and again and we’re pleased with the results. Now the hallway at least has some character. A “Before” and “After” of colour:

After a few days, Hubby decided to tackle the bathroom. A lot smaller than the other two rooms but a bit cumbersome for working a ladder in and around the nooks and crannies. The final coat is being applied the first of the week, and again, a big difference is going to be seen. We decided to use the same colour of paint we had covered over in the Living Room and Hallway as he had a full can of that available. Saving money where we can! It’s a bit of a shocker, as the colour is a bit darker than the pale grey/blue that’s being covered over, but I, for one, am very pleased. It was a real challenge to match the pale grey/blue with accessories and towels. At least now I’ll be able to create a bathroom more colour co-ordinated.

Loving Hubby has done a fabulous job at the age of 81. He grew up in a disciplined, loving and strong family. He has a work ethic to be admired and he makes no apologies for what he’s achieved. This “aging” thing, however, is starting to wear on him and sometimes he’s had to admit to certain things he can no longer do physically. He’s not one to ask for help unless it’s evident. During our 26 years of marriage I’ve learned to step back, support him whenever I can and let it be.

In the middle of our redecorating, we’ve enjoyed my birthday celebration at The Keg (St. Catharines) along with a complimentary piece of Billy Miner Pie for making it to 71. If I had the will, I would eat a massive slice of that mocha-flavoured ice cream sitting atop a dark chocolate cookie crumb base, sprinkled with chocolate and caramel and sliced almonds around the edges. Along with their Teriyaki Steakit’s a slice of heaven.

We also made our quarterly trip to Costco for our usual goodies as we were really running low and needed to stock-up. Nothing like a big grocery bill when the bank account is starting to quiver???

Along my family lines, we also received an upsetting email from one sister advising that another was being asked to vacate her apartment of 30 years. The new Landlord wants to renovate and as it will take several months, she’s being asked to find another place to live in the meantime. Not exactly the news our family needs at this time of life. With six girls and one boy all born in the 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60’s, we’ve become a bit long in the tooth for moving loved ones or anyone else for that matter. Naturally, we’ve chattered amongst ourselves as to how we can help this sister in any way possible for us, but the ideas are very slim. With a majority of siblings now in their Senior Years (including moi), we struggle to do our own chores and errands, let alone help someone move. We’ve all got our individual medical problems and some struggle on a daily basis, including the sibling that needs to be moved. Somehow we’ll get through this.

I attended at the apartment to help this sister pack, but it was slow going, as the apartment is only a one bedroom, in an old building and the size of rooms reflect the design for that period in history. One afternoon I got two boxes of china packed up using bubble wrap which was time consuming and then attended a week later with the same results. My mind tells me I can still leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but the aged body is saying “Whoa there old lady, those days are gone!!!!” I’ve now also joined the Sore Back Pain club that has befallen several of us.  With time, luck and help from her Landlord, we hope this sibling will get through without too much struggle.

It’s only the second month in 2020, but I count my blessings every day that I’m at least healthy (despite the back pain) and have been stress free and happy. For a majority of my life it was always me in and out of hospitals or at home with something else ailing me, I was always jealous of other family members that appeared to be relatively healthy and happy, raising children of their own and living what appeared to be a normal life. Now with all my siblings either already a Senior or soon to become one, I’m wierdly grateful that I’ve joined the group and now am “one of them”.

The Last 16th And Honouring The Dead

As families go, mine is pretty damned great. There are just enough of us to gather around a good-sized dinner table, have small group conversations, have one large discussion, talk over each other or eat our meal in complete silence (nah, that has never happened!!). The same scenario goes whenever we get together for a birthday and so it was we gathered to celebrate the last person in our family to turn Sweet 16.

My niece, Zoe, has grown before our eyes and turned into a beautiful, talented and clever young lady. You just might say she’s going to be a renaissance woman. Her artistic talents became very apparent during her early years. A bit of Andy Warhol, Piet Mondrian or Amedeo Modigliani, along with a great sense of style, humour and intelligence. I managed to buy an early piece on canvas named “Owl” which hangs proudly in our office where we can see it on a daily basis.

Now in High School her talents are still expanding above and beyond. With her fabulous grades she’ll be able to name her career whenever she’s ready. I truly hope she finds what she’s looking for. Her 16th birthday was just as eventful and fun as her family is. Zoe and her family are in constant contact with another Aunt and cousins and we sit and listen to their hijinks, travels and tribulations whenever we are together. They really make Nat and myself look and sound like a couple of old fogies – and I suppose that’s what we’re getting to be. At times jealousy rears its ugly head but I know in my heart you make the bed you lie in. We do, however, always have a great time and good laughs.

Another family moment arose when The Welland Canal Fallen Workers’ Memorial was announced. The unveiling ceremony was held on November 12th, the day after November 11th, which was somehow very befitting. A large tent was set up along the Welland Canal Parkway at Lock 3. The turnout was more than expected and despite the slow chill that eventually set in to everyones’ body, the ceremony was lovely and well done. As my maternal Grandfather and his only son (an uncle) were both among the 137 that died while helping to construct the canal and its bridges, the entire familly turned out, including dear brother who travelled down from Sudbury.

We sat amongst other family members of fallen workers, along with a large gathering of interested spectators and a few historians and listened to speeches and stories that brought you back to an historical time in our local history and we all came away looking at the great expanse of The Welland Canal in a completely different light.

The Memorial itself is a pair of canal Lock doors partially opened with each of the names of Fallen workers inscribed in the black granite. After the ceremony the Memorial was flooded with families and guests and our family came to the conclusion that we can return on a quieter day to take pictures and appreciate the memorial in a more peaceful setting.

Claudia had invited the whole gang back to her place for Beef on a Bun, Shredded Pork and salads after the ceremony. As our brother was down from the Sudbury area, and as we rarely get a chance to see him, it was a real delight to sit around the kitchn table and get caught up on family news. The reality has now come down to discussions of medications, aches and pains, along with what we can and cannot do any more. Our childhood memories of the older adults in the family having the same discussions has now come full circle.

Two days after, it was my personal time to face some pretty ugly consequences. After a quiet, long and honest discussion, Nat and I concluded that it was time for me to take care of what has bothered me for years. He was fully supportive and will be by my side at every step. My first appointment was on the 14th. It went well, but we still have to wait and see what the next several months will bring. I’ll try and post as much as I can personally handle.

With a few errands to run in the days following, Nat and I quietly went about our business. We both got our requisite flu shots and then headed into St. Catharines with our To Do list.

Nat has had no luck getting his Nikkon camera to charge, so we dropped by Henry’s Camera Shop where it was concluded that the camera was, in fact, already charged and that he may have had trouble with the connection showing the proper results. With red faces and hands covering our embarrassment, we got the hell out of there. Duh!!!!

We grabbed some lunch at our favourite haunts – Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s – before we drove to the other side of the City for Costco’s. We stocked up on the usual, found a couple of new items and paid what felt like a massive hydro bill. At least this bill will hold us over for severeal months!!

The rest of November and December are going to be quiet with only a few appointments. No shopping for Christmas this year and we’ll give the usual amount of money to each grandchild whenever we get together over the holidays. All four grandchildren are now adults, completing their education, working nine to five or travelling. I feel for their parents in how they’re going to try and get everyones’ schedules in sync. Nat and I will just sit back and wait for when to show up. This year we may also just do our own thing and quietly let Christmas pass us by.

Just in case I don’t post between now and 2018 – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I’ve Quit Cheating

After my eye surgery I slowly became frustrated that I had to use glasses to read. Everything from recipes, labels, computer screen, iPad screen, etc. Not wanting to pay a great amount of money I purchased some binocular-style eye glasses. I soon realized the Optometrist community calls them “Cheaters”. These glasses worked really well and I had purchased as many as I needed – one pair for the: kitchen, office, TV side chair, night stand and my purse. I figured I wouldn’t have to search around the house to find a pair whenever I needed them. The scheme worked for quite some time, but each pair of Cheaters was different in style and intensity. (I just picked up a pair wherever and if they worked, they worked).

With time I soon began to wonder if I should actually upgrade my old prescription and get a proper pair of reading glasses. I was soon reminded by the mailman when she dropped an appointment check-up in the mailbox. The card sat on the office desk for a week or two, as I tried to justify any extra expense we may incur. With Nat’s nagging, I soon picked up the phone and made the appointment.

When I admitted to my Optometrist what I was using, he didn’t really chastize me and he certainly understood the expense. Turns out the price wasn’t so bad, as our health insurance would cover all but $40.00 and I was getting a bifocal upgrade where I’d have a wider area of view, with a good computer screen portion. I’ll see in a day or two when they arrive how better my daily life will be without putting glasses on-and-off, on-and-off, on-and-off. A frustrating routine to say the least. AND No, I’m not ready for that fancy little chain that hangs around my neck. It will be like wearing a necklace which I can no longer do because of my sensitive skin. Another frustrating scenario.

I had another appointment with the old law firm I worked for. One of the secretaries had called to have me sign an “Affidavit of Execution”. I was a witness to a Will back in 1982 and would I come in for 5 minutes to sign the affidavit. Nat and I also had a couple of other errands in the big City that day.

As I walked in the door, I recognized the Receptionist, but any other secretary or lawyer walking through the lounge were complete strangers. I was suppose to meet a secretary, but her boss came into the lounge to greet me and turned out it was one of the lawyers I had known and, in fact, a son of the founding father of that firm. I remembered him as a a pull no punchesvery conservative, old school kind of man and I only got along with him because I absolutely adored his father, and his father liked me (he had told my boss one day who past it along). I had also done some secretarial work whenever his secretary was on holiday and he made it a point to tell me what good work I did.

As we sat in the small “signing office” the first thing out of his mouth was “how could your boss allow a Codicial to a Will be signed and witnessed out of the office and with two strangers as witnesses? I politely replied my long term memory has faded from my brain after my transplant (a bit of a fib – it’s actually my short-term memory). I signed what I had to and tried to leave the office, when another secretary I knew and liked, asked me to stay a bit longer, as her boss also had a Will that I had witnessed. She was going to call me in a week or so, but since I was already there – why not? So Nat and I waited as the Affidavit of Execution was being drawn up and printed out.

Thinking I’d see the secretary to sign, I was completely surprised when her boss came out and was immediately up to his old tricks of trying to “get my goat”. I’ve known this lawyer from the first day he started at the firm and we’ve always gotten along famously. He was one of a few lawyers in the firm I could actually say “go to hell” to. We were verbal jousters and enjoyed the challenge. We reminisced for a minute or two, I signed where required, and he asked me if I’d return. “Honestly?“, I asked. As he shook his head I told him I now had a bit of a sour taste in my mouth from how my sister was treated. He understood and with a big grin on my face, I told him of my wedded bliss in a small village with peace, quiet and tranquility. We hugged each other and with that I departed.

Nat and I were then on our way to Costco for our regular trip of groceries and once we arrived, we had no idea how busy this place would be late afternoon on Tuesdays. We bobbed and weaved our way through hordes of customers, got what we needed and then got the hell out of there. We’re at that stage in our lives where too many people in one place can no longer be tolerated. We’ve been spoiled by our peaceful little corner of the world.

This past week my last parcel from Land’s End arrived. For years, I’ve been searching to replace my favourite all-around short-sleeved Oxford Shirt. I’ve never shopped at Land’s End before because of their limited sizes. So when I was googling for “Oxford Shirts” and landsend.com showed up, I gave them a look-see. They had finally up-dated their sizes and what to my surprise they had the exact Oxford Shirts I had been looking for. I ordered one to try it out – perfect. I ordered two more in different colours – more perfection. What the hell, I then ordered the balance of colours and now have one shirt for every short or pair of pants I own. I also have a reserve shirt for my day-to-day housework. It’s going to be my workaholic top. Just to be totally anal about the whole thing, I went to WalMart and purchased a wooden hanger for every article of clothing in my wardrobe and that of Nat’s. We’re both pleased now that our clothes hang in an orderly fashion and not igglety, pigglety in our closet.

I must add that the month of September has been really great physically and emotionally. Long may it continue!!